RCMP must pay $550K penalty for Labour Code conviction in Moncton Mountie shootings
Crown had asked that national police force get maximum fine of $1M
The RCMP must pay a penalty of $550,000 after a judge ruled the national police force failed its officers during the June 2014 shooting in Moncton, N.B., that left three of them dead.
Judge Leslie Jackson said the RCMP is being fined $100,000 and must also pay $450,000 in donations:
- $300,000 for scholarships to the University of Moncton in the names of the fallen Mounties, demonstrating dedication to the community.
- $60,000 for educational trust fund for the children of the Mounties who were killed.
- $90,000 to other organizations. Of this, $75,000 will go to Threads of Life – Association for Workplace Tragedy Family Support, a Canadian registered charity, and $15,000 to the Valour Place Society, a temporary home away from home for all Canadian Forces members, RCMP, families of the fallen, veterans and first responders, along with their families who require medical treatment in Edmonton, and live outside the area.
RCMP will also be put on probation for 30 days conditional on paying the amounts in the sentence.
"A sentence must speak to future leadership of RCMP that duty to ensure member safety should be given high priority," Jackson said.
In September, Jackson ruled the police force failed to provide adequate equipment and training to the Mounties who responded to the shootings by Justin Bourque as he made his way through a Moncton neighbourhood on the evening of June 4, 2014.
RCMP Constables Fabrice Gevaudan, Doug Larche and Dave Ross were killed. Two more officers were shot but survived.
'Without a daddy'
Nadine Larche, one of the widows of the fallen officers, said her family's life has been forever changed by the shootings that happened in 2014 and feels her husband would still be alive today if "the RCMP had done their due diligence."
She said she's been forced to watch her children grow up "without a daddy."
"My only hope with this whole trial and judgment … is that the decision makers will do more in the future," she said.
"My hope is that the RCMP officers in charge will put members' safety first when making decisions so that those RCMP members that are out there today to protect us, will be better protected themselves."
RCMP react to sentencing
After the sentencing, Deputy Commissioner Dan Dubeau, who is the acting commissioner of the RCMP, said it was important to reflect on the tragic events that took place in June 2014, and loss of the fallen officers.
"It's a very emotional day for all of us at all levels throughout this organization," he said.
"We can never forget our fallen — ever — and we will never forget," he said.
He said it's also important to remember the harm that was caused to fellow officers with the Codiac RCMP and the community at large, who are still being impacted by the event today.
"As an organization, we really have to continue working together on their behalf and all of our injured employees' behalf to make it a safer and healthier workplace for all and a more respectful work place," he said.
Larry Tremblay, commanding officer of the New Brunswick RCMP, said he didn't know whether RCMP would appeal the judge's decision, and that was up to their lawyers.
But he said the RCMP will continue to work on ensuring members receive proper equipment and training for office safety to provide the best policing service to people in New Brunswick.
"We will never forget our members, their family, their loved ones and the impact June 4  had on all of our employees."
In a statement, the RCMP said they have made progress on each of the recommendations that Alphonse MacNeil, a retired assistant commissioner, made in a 180-page report on the shootings.
The report urged the RCMP to expedite the deployment of patrol carbines across the force, including improved training in the use of the weapons.
Of those recommendations, RCMP said they have particularly focused on recommendations related to member safety, equipment and training.
"The health and safety of our employees continues to be a top priority for the Force," read the statement.
"As we move forward in our individual healing processes, we remember Doug, Dave, Fabrice, their families, friends and colleagues."
A horrible tragedy
President Al Rivard of the RCMP Veterans' Association described the officers who were both injured and killed on June 4, 2014, as "horribly tragic."
"The effect upon their families, their fellow officers and the community of Moncton are grievous and enduring," he said.
"It has, and will continue to have, a palpable effect upon the confidence and mental health of all members of the RCMP as they attend to their daily duties on patrol."
He said the sentencing by the court reinforces the expectation that the community has upon RCMP leadership to properly and robustly equip officer for their duty.
"It also reinforces to the government of Canada that there are real costs — and human costs — involved when the RCMP is not adequately funded, and when detachments are operating with severe staff shortages. It affects the community and officer safety."
Crown respects court's decision
At a hearing in November, the Crown argued the force should pay the maximum penalty of $1 million.
Crown prosecutor Paul Adams said at the time that mismanagement and a confounding lack of urgency are to blame for the Labour Code conviction.
But after Friday's sentencing, he said he respected the court's decision.
"The importance of this is to contribute to the understanding of the importance of employee safety and the vigilance that needs to be applied with respect to it," he said.
He said a strong message needs to be sent to bring significant cultural change within the force.
The Crown had also requested the RCMP be ordered to make a public statement following the sentencing. But Jackson said such a condition was "neither reasonable nor necessary in the particular circumstances of the case."